Sunday, March 25, 2012

Strange Wit: Recipe

One of my favorite warm-weather beers is Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca. Since it's not always the easiest to find around DC and is fairly expensive at $12+ per bottle, I thought I'd do something similar. I'm going to brew a traditional witbier, with spicing on the low side, and then add some dregs from one of my sour program beers. Hopefully I'll get a bit of acidity and some moderate funk out of this, and it won't take nearly as long to finish out as my lambic-style beers.

Since I've never done a Wit before, I adapted Jamil's witbier recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. I took down the spice additions a notch, as I generally prefer spicing on the lighter side in witbiers. I also lowered his recommended mash temperature a bit, as I generally prefer dryer, lighter beers. (Also, in this instance, I'd like for everything -- including the bugs -- to finish up quickly, so I don't need to leave many complex chains for the wild stuff to chew up.)

Batch Number: 34
Brew Date: March 25, 2012
Keg Date: TBD
Batch Size: 5 Gallon
OG: 1.045 (measured)
IBU: 16.4
SRM: 3.4

Mash: Single infusion for 60 minutes at 152 F.
Boil: 60 minute


4.5 lb French Pilsner
4.0 lb Flaked Wheat
1.0 lb Flaked Oats
0.25 lb Munich Malt
0.50 lb Rice Hulls


0.5 oz Centennial (8.8 AAU) at 20 minutes
0.5 oz Centennial (8.8 AAU) at 10 minutes


.25 oz Coriander (crushed) at 5 minutes
.25 oz Orange Peel (bitter) at 5 minutes
1/4 tsp Yeast nutrient at 10 minutes


Belgian Wit (WLP400)
Sour Program #1 Dregs


03.20.2012 Made a starter with White Labs Belgian Wit. I forgot to write down the date, but I think the package was 8-10 weeks old. Probably not a concern given the starter and fairly-low starting gravity. The volume is approximately 1.6 liters.

03.25.2012 Brewday. The starter is still quite hazy, but I'm still going to decant. Even if it's not 100% finished, I wouldn't mind selecting for the more-flocculant cells, as this beer could be served clear.

I mashed at 152 F for 60 minutes, infusing with 15 quarts of 167 F water. Initial mash temperature was 152 F. After draining, I batch sparged with 5.25 gallons of 180 F water. That led to 7.5 gallons of 1.036 runnings.

After a 60-minute boil, I was left with 5.5 gallons of 1.045 wort. The wort was chilled to about 75 F, then I used a funnel to transfer to a 6-gallon Better Bottle. I'll let it sit a bit after room temperature before pitching.

After pitching, I also caved and started the souring/funkifying early, after deciding that I'd rather it get a bit too much wild character rather than not enough. I added about a vial's worth of dregs from Sour Program #1, which is the most acidic out of the three "lambics" I've done so far. I also I also threw in the dregs from a 2011 bottle of Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus, just to get things started. Finally, to keep this mildly authentic in my intentions, I added the dregs from a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca (Batch 810; 05.31.2011).

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